Dietary habits in Parkinson's disease: Adherence to Mediterranean diet

Erica Cassani, Michela Barichella, Valentina Ferri, Giovanna Pinelli, Laura Iorio, Carlotta Bolliri, Serena Caronni, Samanta A. Faierman, Antonia Mottolese, Chiara Pusani, Fatemeh Monajemi, Marianna Pasqua, Alessandro Lubisco, Emanuele Cereda, Giuseppe Frazzitta, Maria L. Petroni, Gianni Pezzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Our objective is to describe the dietary habits, food preferences and adherence to Mediterranean diet (MeDi) of a large sample of Italian Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients compared to a group of controls. Methods Dietary habits of 600 PD patients from throughout Italy and 600 controls matched by gender, age, education, physical activity level and geographical residence, were collected using the ON-GP Food Frequency Questionnaire. Then, we compared patients by disease duration and the presence of swallowing disturbances. Results Overall, adherence of PD patients (males, 53.8%; mean disease duration, 9.2 ± 7.0 years) to MeDi was similar to controls (score, 4.8 ± 1.7 vs. 4.9 ± 1.6; P = 0.294). Patients consumed less alcohol and fish and drank significantly less water, coffee, and milk which resulted also in lower total fluids intake. On the contrary, they ate more fruit, cooked vegetables, cereals and baked items, more dressings and more sweets in general. Disease duration was associated with increased intake of several food groups but it was not associated with changes in MeDi score (P = 0.721). Patients with swallowing disturbances (n = 72) preferred softer and more viscous food but preferences did not result in differences in dietary pattern. However, patients with dysphagia drank less fluids (P = 0.043). Discussion PD patients presented different dietary habits and food preferences compared to the general population and adherence to MeDi was not associated with disease duration. Self-reported dysphagia was associated with reduced intake of fluids. These aspects may be amenable to change in order to improve the management of nutritional issues in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Dietary habits
  • Dysphagia
  • Food frequency questionnaire
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


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